Home improvement loan scams are generally aimed at consumers who wish to take out loans for the purpose of repairing or improving their home properties. Home improvement loan scams are often difficult to detect and sometimes difficult to regulate. This is because they frequently involve lesser monetary amounts than more major loans like first or second mortgages.
Loan scams generally involve the use of deceit or misinformation in order to get a consumer to sign off on a loan. These types of schemes may be perpetrated either by individuals or by entire loan companies seeking to make a profit.
Some examples of home improvement loan fraud and scams include:
- Charging fees for loans, then never issuing the loan amount (the company often “disappears” after collecting a fee)
- Using fake forms or paperwork to collect the person’s personal information
- Issuing loans that are in violation of real estate practice standards and ethics
- Changing interest rates in an inconsistent manner, which often involves some sort of breach of contract issue
Home improvement loan scams can also be initiated by the borrowers. Some examples of this include:
- Using the loan amounts for illegal or unauthorized purposes (i.e., for uses that have nothing to do with home improvement)
- Providing false information simply in order to qualify for a loan
- Providing false valuations of a home in order to obtain a different loan amount or different interest rates
Home improvement fraud typically results in misdemeanor charges for the party that executed the scam. This can result in penalties like criminal fines, some jail time, and/or civil fines for economic damages caused to the victim. In addition, home improvement loan scams can often damage one’s credit as well as their ability to secure or issue a loan in the future.
Home improvement loans scams can often involve complex operations that are difficult to detect. Also, many scam situations do not get reported until it is too late for legal action. Thus, if you believe that you have any legal issues involving loan scams, you may wish to contact a real estate lawyer immediately. Your attorney can help investigate the situation to determine whether there has been a violation. Also, if you need to appear in court for a hearing, your attorney can help provide you with representation during the meetings.